Long Term Rehab: More Treatment, Less Trouble

By its very nature, addiction is a long term problem and requires a long term rehab.

For those who have not found short-term treatment to be effective, long term rehab may offer a viable solution that gives people with unresponsive addictions a chance at real recovery.

Long term recovery programs have been shown to be more effective than any other type of treatment for addiction, and for those who have had multiple struggles with this disease, it is the clearly preferred option for treatment.

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Long Term Rehab

What Is Long Term Rehab?

Our long term rehab, which takes place in a residential or inpatient setting, is a type of treatment for drug and alcohol addiction which takes place over three to twelve months.

Similar to other types of residential rehab, patients live at one of our treatment centers and receive round-the-clock care.

Residential rehab (whether short or long term) is often preceded by medical detoxification, especially when there is risk of withdrawal from alcohol, benzodiazepines or opioids. These substances can cause dangerous withdrawal symptoms.

In the case of alcohol and benzodiazepines, such withdrawal can be life-threatening. As withdrawal symptoms get treated, participants in long term rehab meet with treatment staff.

Together, you will create a long term treatment plan which involves continuing care for the time period after long term rehabilitation has been completed.

Long Term Rehab - A woman holds her hands up in despair in her group therapy during the long term rehab she is in for addiction.

Does Long Term Rehab Work?

Long-term rehabilitation is based on evidence sanctioned by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (known by the acronym NIDA), which shows that the longer a person remains in treatment, the greater the chances of long term abstinence.

NIDA has recommended the length of long term rehabs to be up to one year. At first blush, a one-year drug rehab program may seem like an extensive time commitment, but most people with addictions have had to face multiple years of destructive consequences from the disease.

Why Long Term Rehab?

The need for long term rehabilitation for drug and alcohol addiction is more easily understood when you consider addiction as a chronic condition.

Addiction, like diabetes, asthma or high blood pressure, addiction has long term consequences and needs management from professionals and the person with the condition. Like all chronic conditions, addiction is not cured, but can be effectively treated.

Imagine a person who has had years of difficulty controlling diabetes. That person is likely to have more damage than just the loss of control of blood sugars. That damage might include kidney failure, amputation, eye disease, a heart attack or a combination of several of these.

If this individual is incapable of self-care, skilled nursing might be recommended so that the underlying disease that created so many health problems can be more effectively addressed. Long-term rehabilitation for addiction functions in much the same way as skilled nursing might for a medical condition.

Patients who require long term rehab have often had multiple consequences from addiction: citations for driving under the influence, heart infections, dental problems, overdoses, liver disease, suicide attempts and other types of damage.

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Long Term Rehab

Therapeutic Community

The most popular version of long term rehabilitation uses a model called the Therapeutic Community. According to NIDA, with this approach, “addiction is viewed in the context of individual, social and psychological deficits, and treatment focuses on developing personal accountability and responsibility as well as socially productive lives.”

This method is similar to the way that chronic medical conditions use a “medical home” with health organizations.

The treatment center that offers the Therapeutic Community model can give the patient wraparound services for acute care, long term care, and continuing care. It also helps people with addictions when they have concurrent needs, such as:

Treatment of Co-Occurring Mental Health Disorders

Dual Diagnosis or co-occurring disorders like depression and anxiety along with substance abuse can complicate the treatment of drug or alcohol addiction. Without mental health treatment, the presence of a mental health condition makes it more difficult to treat addiction, and vice versa.

However, when both the mental health condition and addiction can be addressed, outcomes for patients with co-occurring disorders can be excellent. This approach takes time, and long term rehab is well-suited to the treatment of co-occurring disorders.

Treating Physical Consequences of Addiction

Addiction can create a host of physical ailments: Liver cirrhosis, dementia, abscesses, kidney failure and many other conditions. During long term rehab, medical professionals will work with you as you focus on your addiction treatment.

When you are in long term recovery, your health requirements will need to be addressed holistically, and the Therapeutic Community model helps you understand and manage these needs.

Securing Stable Housing

When the consequences of addiction have been long term, they often result in frayed relationships and unstable community support. Addiction can also drain a person’s finances, resulting in large-scale debt, foreclosure, evictions, back taxes or bankruptcy. A loss of housing is a common addictive consequence.

In long term recovery, a staff of specialists can help you find stable housing, or temporary sober housing if it meets your needs.

Addressing active legal problems

Addiction often brings people into contact with the law. The disease can result in legal problems like driving while intoxicated, gun violence, self harm, property crime, theft, assault and other legal situations. Understanding these legal predicaments in the context of addiction can help you deal with them more effectively.

In some states, a mental health court will allow you to show that these matters resulted from addiction, and courts may be able to give targeted and appropriate conditions for you to rehabilitate.

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How Long Should I Be In Rehab?

The ability to deal with these challenges in a longitudinal way gives long term rehabilitation a distinct advantage over a short term rehab program.

Even a long term rehab program, with its extended time and resources, may not be sufficient to address the degree of damage created by addiction and to allow for repair. Everyone and every addiction is different.

Long Term Rehab - A woman is consoled during group therapy at the long term rehab center for addiction treatment.

How Should I Choose My Rehab Program?

When you are choosing between types of long term rehab programs, you’ll need to take several factors into consideration:


Do I need to stay close to home? Is it far away enough that I will not be distracted by triggering circumstances?

Time frame

Is a short term rehab best for my personal needs? Would a long term rehab be more beneficial? Am I a candidate for an extra long term rehabilitation program?

Access to Services

What treatment services does the facility provide? Can I get treatment for my co-occurring disorder? Can I keep my primary care physician?

Treatment Approach

Does the style of this recovery Center fit with my needs? Does it use effective, evidence-based treatment?


If I need affordable long term rehab, will I be able to access it? Will insurance pay for long term rehab? Interestingly, public insurance like Medicaid is more likely to pay for long term rehab than they are for other forms of rehab, in part because of the strong evidence basis that long term rehabilitation has for unresponsive addictions.

Medicaid Accepted for Long Term Rehab

Is Long Term Rehab Right For Me?

If you are in need of a longer-term solution for your recovery, we can help you secure treatment at Emerald Isle health and Wellness.

Our team of experienced in caring professionals will guide you to the best long term recovery options, whether you have a co-occurring disorder, multiple previous attempts at recovery or longer-term medical needs.

In long term rehab, you have the opportunity to live a healthy and sober life. We accept both private insurance and Medicaid for addiction treatment. Give us a call today and we will help you get the help you need.

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